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Influence of Attic Radiant Barrier Systems on Air Conditioning Demand in an Utility Pilot Project
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A utility monitoring project has evaluated radiant barrier systems (RBS) as a new potential demand site management (DSM) program. The study examined how the retrofit of attic radiant barriers can be expected to alter utility residential space conditioning loads. An RBS consists of a layer of aluminum foil fastened to roof decking or roof trusses to block radiant heat transfer between the hot roof surface and the attic below. The radiant barrier can significantly lower summer heat transfer to the attic insulation and to the cooling duct system. Both of these mechanisms have strong potential impacts on cooling energy use as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2. The pilot project involved installation of RBS in nine homes that had been extensively monitored over the preceding year. The houses varied in conditioned floor area from 939 to 2,440 square feet; attic insulation varied from R-9 to R-30. The homes had shingle roofs with varying degrees of attic ventilation. The radiant barriers were installed during the summer of 2000. Data analysis on the pre and post cooling and heating consumption was used to determine impacts on energy use and peak demand for the utility. The average cooling energy savings from the RBS retrofit was 3.6 kWh/day, or about 9%. The average reduction in summer afternoon peak demand was 420 watts (or about 16%).
Parker, D. S.; Sherwin, J. R. (2002). Influence of Attic Radiant Barrier Systems on Air Conditioning Demand in an Utility Pilot Project. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from